Inman (Jude Law) has just meet, and fallen for Ada (Nicole Kidman) but shortly after they meet the American Civil War starts. Inman leaves his small farming community and goes to fight for the Confederate army. Ada vows to wait for him and he vows to return. As the years pass, hardship hits the American people, Ada struggles to keep her father’s farm going. Meanwhile on the battlefields Inman tries to stay alive. He is longing to return to Ada and his home, although injured, he starts a perilous journey back to Cold Mountain. He has to avoid the Union army and dangerous Confederate home guards…
Based on Charles Frazier’s best selling novel of the same name this film starts off with the feeling of a real epic romantic war drama. A bloody battle scene is intermingled with flashbacks of how Inman and Ada meet and fell in love. After this dramatic start the film settles into a fairly routine formula and is a straightforward story of a man making a dangerous journey home while the woman he loves waits.
There are two main stories in the film. Firstly there is Inman’s journey home and all the dangerous situations that he finds himself in and secondly there is the story of Ada trying to survive the hardship that war brings to the community and her struggle to produce food from the farm. The film weaves the two stories together by switching back and forth between them. The pace is a little slow at times and the ending doesn’t live up to the film’s “epic” description.
On the plus side the film is beautifully filmed with lovely images of nature and the seasons. The acting is also excellent and Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renée Zellweger give strong performances. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, The Others) plays her part very well. Her character, Ada, is beautiful, refined and educated. She is accustomed to city life but now finds herself isolated in the country trying to work a farm; something she knows nothing about. Jude Law also gives a strong performance and spends most of the film sporting a beard and covered in mud from sleeping rough.
Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Me Myself and Irene, Chicago) has played many different characters and displays her versatility as an actress again in this film. Her character, Ruby, arrives to help Ada on the farm and provides most of the humour in the film.
There is strong support from Donald Sutherland as Ada’s father, Brendan Gleeson as another Confederate soldier and Philip Seymour Hoffman who worked with director, Anthony Minghella, previously in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Bottom Line: Beautifully filmed and acted but is a little slow in parts and fails to leave a lasting impression.
Lasting Thought: Is it better to be without something wonderful and beautiful than to have it for a short while and then lose it?